SI preseason poll: Spartans surprise, Huskers left out

Andrew Maxwell

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Will Ohio State jump defending National Champion Alabama in any publication’s preseason college football top 25 poll? The chances are looking slim for the Buckeyes as Sports Illustrated released its preseason top 25 poll, and Urban Meyer’s team came in at No. 4, behind Alabama, Stanford and Texas A&M.

[ SI.com: Preseason college football top 25]

Buckeye nation can’t be happy with that, and after coming off a perfect 12-0 2012 season and featuring one of the top returning offenses in the country, can you really blame them?

But Ohio State being ranked at No. 4 certainly isn’t the only thing that is going to stand out to Big Ten fans.

Sports Illustrated Preseason College Football Top 25
No. 4: Ohio State
No. 15: Michigan State
No. 18: Michigan
No. 22: Northwestern

What do you think? My first impression is that Michigan State seems a little high up on this list, especially with so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball.

The Spartans are coming off a 7-6 season and faced with the task of replacing All-Big Ten running back Le’Veon Bell, which certainly won’t be easy. MSU’s  defense should be not only one of the best in the Big Ten, but throughout the entire country. Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard, Denicos Allen and Isaiah Lewis are all entering their third year as starters and should be the backbone of DC Pat Narduzzi’s talented group. But still, is a team with so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball really worthy of a top 15 ranking?

Michigan and Northwestern seem right at home at No. 18 and 22, respectively. Both teams should be explosive on the offensive side of the ball, but also feature plenty of questions on the defensive side.

But perhaps my biggest gripe with this entire poll would be that Nebraska is nowhere to be found in the mix. I know Bo Pelini’s team has several questions on the defensive side of the ball, much like both Michigan and Northwestern, but that offense should be explosive yet again in 2013.

The Huskers averaged just under 35 points per game last season, and return their top quarterback, running back and wide receiver from a team that went 10-4 last year and won the Legends division.

If the old saying of “defense wins championships” holds true, then I suppose SI’s picks make sense. But I guess I’m not much of a traditionalist, which is why I think it’s shocking to leave the Huskers off this list.

Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, I have worked at the Big Ten Network since 2012 and took over my role as web editor and blogger in August, 2013. Follow me on twitter for constant Big Ten updates @srmerriman. Thanks and enjoy!!

Find out more about:

4 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (4 Comments)
bigtengrad on 8/14/2013 @ 4:20pm EST Said:

I think Wisconsin has a gripe as being better than Northern Illinois and Vandy and probably Boise, and the Huskers are right there with them. MSU is way too high. You have to score points to win games, even though the defense is tough. On a non B1G note, they left out Okie State as well. This poll seems a little odd. It’s preseason though, and means nothing, though it’s fun to speculate.

bardman on 8/14/2013 @ 6:25pm EST Said:

What a joke!!! Must have been Dr. Lou doing the polls. Suprise Notre Dame was not pre-season #1. There will be a lot of teams dropping out after the first week or two. Huskers and Caines will be in the top 25 after a week or two. Just can’t wait until the games start. Go Big Red!!!!

Dale on 8/14/2013 @ 8:32pm EST Said:

I think Nebraska should be ranked well ahead of Mich. St. def. good but off. stinks and will not be able beat many teams that way. Will come down to Michigan and Nebraska in there div. I wouldn’t want the SI jinx anyway.

Peter on 8/15/2013 @ 10:12am EST Said:

I am glad the Huskers are not ranked. Pre-season poll means little, but maybe being left out will give them added motivation against UCLA. The stink from the Wisconsin loss will take time to ware off, top 25 teams just don’t allow 70 points to 5 loss teams. Until the melt-downs stop Nebraska will be considered by many to be among the ranks of lesser teams which can at least lose a competitively played game without falling apart.